Monday, November 24, 2014

Grave Mercy - Review

Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin #1)

By: Robin LaFevers

Published: April 3, 2012 by HMH Books for Young Readers

576 pages

Source: Personal Kindle Library

(Goodreads /Amazon)

Summary:
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
MY REVIEW:
I'm probably one of the few remaining bloggers who has yet to finish this series. I'm not entirely sure why it took me so long to check it out because I've heard a lot of praise about it. Add to that the trusted opinion of my SNL, who finished this series recently, and after her 4.5/5 star rating of each book in the series, I finally decided to purchase it for myself.

This story is rich in detail and given that it takes place somewhere around the Middle Ages, beginning of the Renaissance period, there is much to describe. From the clothing to the weapons to the castle, LaFevers does a perfect job of painting the picture for the reader of this elaborate story.

The first 10% of the story was slow and blah for me. I understand it was necessary back-story information for the reader to learn how Ismae came to be in the convent. I was just more interested in what she did AFTER she became an assassin than her life prior to learning the art of killing. Call me morbid.

The story really picks up with intensity and intrigue once Duval comes on the scene. From that point on I was hooked and blew through to the end.

The story goes that Ismae was fathered by Death himself and bears a scar on her back from her mother trying to expell her from her womb with a potion. At 17 years old her "father" sells her for 3 coins to a brute, who upon seeing her scar wants to have her put to death. She narrowly escapes with the help of an herbwitch and finds herself at a convent run by sisters who all have sworn service to the god of Death, St. Mortain and service to their realm of Brittany and its duchess.

It's here at this convent that Ismae learns how to be an assassin. She learns the art of weaponry, potion making and seduction. She will face three trials, three kills, before she can say her final vows. Upon her second trial she meets Duval, someone who the sisters are suspicious of. The sisters send her as a spy of sorts back to court with Duval, acting as his mistress. It's here at court where she learns about the depth of betrayal that is going on as Brittany is facing war with France.

There was a couple irritations that I had. Nothing major, but were things I noted while reading. It seemed to take Ismae a really long time - longer than it took me, to piece together who the ultimate betrayer was. It was bothersome that she never questioned the motives of this person until relatively late in the story. It also bugged me that Ismae wrote letters to a sister at the convent, Annith, three times at least, asking questions each time, and only hearing back from her once. I'm curious to see if the next book addresses what is going on with Annith and why she seems MIA.

Overall, this was a really great story and I look forward to reading more! Good thing I already have book two, Dark Triumph, in my possession!

Favorite Quotes:
"However will you play the game of seduction if you flinch so?" His voice is soft velvet along my skin. "You will be hard-pressed to gain my secrets if you cannot bear my touch."

This is what I want to be. An instrument of mercy, not vengeance.

Final Rating - 4 stars

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Post #103

Sunday Post is a weekly post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
Each week bloggers participate to share any books received and news from their week.

Click on the book covers to be taken to its Goodreads page. The Buy Link, if available, is below each book cover.

Where last week I didn't get any new books, this week I may have went a bit one-click crazy on some books I should've waited on. But where's the fun in that?! I got sucked into the purchase of two extremely short stories after seeing some other bloggers talk about them. Unfortunately after reading them they turned out to be mediocre at best. Then I added 2 books to my collection of series but haven't yet read them.

~PURCHASED OR FREEBIES~
Hansel, Part 1 by Ella James
Buy Link: Amazon (FREEBIE!)

Hansel, Part 2 by Ella James
Buy Link: Amazon

The King (Black Dagger Brotherhood #12) by J.R. Ward
Buy Link: Amazon ($5.99 sale!)

The Future Without Hope (The World Without End #3) by Nazarea Andrews
Buy Link: Amazon ($2.99)

RECAP OF WEEK:
SUNDAY:

MONDAY:
Review - State of Pursuit (Collapse Series #4) by Summer Lane (4 stars)

TUESDAY:

SATURDAY:

WHAT'S AHEAD:
Tentative Posts:
Teaser Tuesday
Waiting on Wednesday
Feature & Follow
Planned Posts:
Review - Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
ARC Thursday Review - Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

On Friday I took my kids (ages 12.5 and 11) to see Mockingjay, Part 1. We LOVED it! Excellent movie - not that I expected anything less since movies one and two were fantastic as well. The only slightly annoying things I noticed were incredibly small and inconsequential had nothing to do with the plot (it's been too long since I read the books to have noticed differences but from what I remember there weren't any major ones). We would love to go see it a second time though I'm not sure that's feasible - especially with Exodus and The Hobbit #3 coming out in just a couple of weeks. If ya'll are fans of the Hunger Games books and/or movies, definitely go check it out!

GLORIOUS!!! THIS IS A WEEK OFF! I always think these breaks come at just the right time when I desperately need a week off from driving kids to schools and babysitting and just having to be on a schedule. This week in the US we celebrate Thanksgiving. Ya'll know what holidays mean - food, family and friends. This will be the first year in 17 years that I won't celebrate with all of my extended family - aunts/uncles/cousins, etc... I'm a bit sad about that. 

We also, college football fans in the south, will have the Iron Bowl this coming weekend. 

Overall, this is one of my favorite weeks out of the year. 

Don't forget to sign up to participate in the 2015 Series Ender Reading Challenge! There'll be a giveaway EVERY MONTH! 
 
Enjoy your week!
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

From Books to Movies, Take 6


I haven't done a From Books to Movies post in awhile. There are a number of book to movie adaptations that I'm stoked to see, but for this post I'm going to limit it to a few of my current top favorites, and some I have my eye on, as many of which aren't even in the filming process yet. 

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

Book Description: After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Movie Description: 16-year-old Cassie Sullivan tries to survive in a world devastated by the waves of an alien invasion that has already decimated the population and knocked mankind back to the Stone Age.


Casting: ChloĆ« Grace Moretz as Cassie Sullivan, Nick Robinson as Ben Parrish, Alex Roe as Evan Walker, Maggie Siff as Lisa Sullivan, Liev Schreiber as Colonel Vosch, 
Directed By: J. Blakeson
Screenwriter: Susannah Grant
Expected Release: January, 2016 (MAN - that's a long time to wait!!!)

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Book Description: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face. 

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
Movie Description: A high school senior instigates a social pecking order revolution after finding out that she has been labeled the DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend) to her prettier more popular friends.

Casting: Bella Thorne as Madison, Mae Whitman as Bianca, Robbie Amell as Wesley
Directed By: Ari Sandel
Screenwriter: Josh Cagan
Expected Release: April 2015

Books-to-Movies I've got my Eye On:
These following titles are so new to being made into a movie that there isn't enough information yet to share or there isn't an official movie poster/trailer/etc... and I want to do them justice when I do feature them in my post. We'll call these teasers, as I will feature them again when more info is available.

While It Lasts (Sea Breeze #3) by Abbi Glines

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
No, that's not just some sexy man holding a copy of Ugly Love. But let's face it, I DID use this picture because he IS THAT sexy. This is actor/model Nick Bateman, who is rumored to be the lead in the film adaptation of Ugly Love, which was just optioned for a film. 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith
That is one of the longest titles EVER. I didn't even have this on my TBR list, and to be honest I'm not sure I WANT to read it. However, the movie idea strikes me as funny, so I'll probably check it out. Check out this official screen shot:

What book-to-movie are you most excited to see? Share it with me! I may need to add it to my watch list!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesday #76: Dark Triumph


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly post hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Anyone can play along. Just go HERE to learn how to participate.

This week my teasers come from 
Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) by Robin LaFevers:

Teasers: He is perhaps even better at it than I am, and yet for all that, he feels as bright and golden as a lion who roars in the face of his enemies and stalks them in broad daylight. Whereas I - I am a dark panther, slinking unseen among the shadows, silent and deadly.

What are you reading this week?
Share a teaser with me!

Monday, November 17, 2014

State of Pursuit - Review

State of Pursuit (Collapse Series #4) 

By: Summer Lane

Published: June 2, 2014 by WB Publishing

267 pages

Source: Personal Kindle Library

(Goodreads /Amazon $3.99)

Summary:
Cassidy Hart is alone. 
Her Commander and the love of her life, Chris Young, has gone missing in action. A horrific battle with Omega has left too many good men and women dead, and Cassidy must bear the burden of leadership in the militia on her own. 
But she's not about to give up. 
With the help of her faithful friends - and former enemies - she will stop at nothing to rescue Chris and ensure victory for the militias in their fight against the all-powerful Omega forces. The game has shifted. 
This time, Cassidy is one step ahead of the enemy. 
This time, Cassidy is in charge. 

BOOK 4 in the National Bestselling Series. 
New Adult/Young Adult Romantic Adventure
MY REVIEW:
You might not want to read this review if you're new to this series. Go back and check out my review of book one, State of Emergency (4.5 stars!). I'd hate to give anything away too soon.

Book four picks up with our main character, Cassidy, back at the National Guard headquarters just after their attempt to fight back Omega from the Central Valley. Lives were lost, some close to her, and Chris is MIA. She fears for him. She questions her own decisions and blames herself. She's definitely at a low point. She has grown and matured so much in the year since the EMP hit and has become a well respected leader, and now a Lieutenant.

She along with 29 other militiamen and women agree to go against the National Guard Colonel's orders and set out on a rescue mission to find Chris. In order to do that though, they have to go into the heart of Omega's forces. They all realize it's quite possibly a suicide mission, but their loyalty and love for Chris as their Commander and what he was fighting for has them determined to carry out their mission, no matter the consequences.

There are a few surprising twists in this installment of the story, and as expected a cliffhanger at the end.

This story is just as gripping as the first three books. It even brought tears to my eyes - which happened at some point in nearly all of the books in this series. I believe if you put all of these books together into one giant novel, I would still breeze through it and devour it as quickly as possible. They are just THAT good. The story is that engaging and I really feel like I'm in the battle with the characters while I'm reading. It's wonderfully written!!

This series is categorized as New Adult/Young Adult romantic adventure. For those who are familiar with the "typical NA" books, let me just say that this story, as far as mature content and language, is very tame....nonexistent really. To that end, the characters are older (Chris being 28 and Cassidy 20) so perhaps that's why the story could be considered NA. As for romance....there is a romantic theme, however it's not very detailed in nature. So for those wanting a full on romance, that's not what this series is about nor would it have the graphic content to satisfy some who enjoy that aspect of romance fiction. There have been zero sexual situations up to this point, unless you consider some kisses or cuddling to be sexual in nature, so if you prefer stories that are mild in that regard, you are safe to read this. I wholeheartedly agree with the adventure part. Every turn these characters go on there is more adventure - dangerous and life threatening adventure. You'll be cheering them on and hoping for them to pull through and you will feel a sense of camaraderie with the Freedom Fighters and other militias like them.

This has quickly become a favorite series of mine for 2014. Cassidy Hart is a heroine to look up to. She is strong and courageous and smart. She's got it all!

If you haven't yet, be sure to check out this series!

Favorite Quotes:
They have had no mercy on us, so we cannot afford to have any on them. It's fight or die these days.

Cassidy Hart, the smart mouthed girl from L.A., died somewhere on the battlefield. At some point, she was replaced by a battle hardened ex-slave laborer and the Lieutenant of a sniper platoon.

Sorry, Chris. I love you too much to leave you in the hands of my enemies. Even if it means breaking my promise? Yes. Even then.

"Ordering people around doesn't define a leader. Doing the right thing at the hardest time does."

I realize that this is the reason I fell in love with him. Not because of his good looks. Not because of his fighting capabilities. Not because of his leadership skills. But because he is a good man. A man of integrity and honor and respect.

"You need to see this," Dread seizes me. Those five words never hold a positive meaning. Never.

Final Rating - 4 stars

My reviews of this series, in order:
Book One: State of Emergency (4.5 stars!)
Book Two: State of Chaos (4 stars!)
Book Three: State of Rebellion (4 stars!)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Post #102

Sunday Post is a weekly post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
Each week bloggers participate to share any books received and news from their week.

Click on the book covers to be taken to its Goodreads page. The Buy Link, if available, is below each book cover.

~No New Books~

RECAP OF WEEK:
SUNDAY:

MONDAY:
Review - State of Rebellion (Collapse Series #3) by Summer Lane (4 stars)

SATURDAY:

WHAT'S AHEAD:
Tentative Posts:
Teaser Tuesday
Waiting on Wednesday
Feature & Follow
Planned Posts:
Review - State of Pursuit (Collapse Series #4) by Summer Lane

Another restful weekend with not doing much of anything note worthy - other than watching TV and reading. Being as cold as it was though, I much prefer being inside cuddled in a blanket on the couch than being outside. BRING BACK FLIP FLOP WEATHER!!!

Be sure to sign up to participate in the 2015 Series Ender Reading Challenge! There is a giveaway EVERY month of the year available to all of those who link up each month. 

Enjoy your week and your books!
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2015 Series Ender Reading Challenge: My Goals

The 2014 Series Enders Reading Challenge was a success, and so Sandy and I decided we're going to keep it up. We have updated a few of the rules this year, so please be sure to check them out for any changes if you participated last year.

This challenge is for all of you series readers who are scared to death of that last book in the series. You anxiously await it. You stalk it. You get your hands on it as soon as possible. But then…you put off reading it for fear that it might not be everything you thought it would be. Or, maybe you just have a backlog of series started and you need to finish that last book.

Join us in knocking out those pesky last books in a series. This is your chance. Here’s your motivation. Better than that, we have prizes!

Challenge Guidelines:
    1) This challenge will run from January 1, 2015 until December 31, 2015.
    2) Anyone can enter. You don’t have to have a blog, just as long as you review your books somewhere: on your blog if you have one, Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, etc.
    3) Any genre, length, or format is acceptable as long as it is the last book in a series where all books in the series have been published and no more books are currently intended to be published in the series. If an author makes a decision somewhere during the year to add on to the series, we will count both the original last book in the series and the “new last” book in the series assuming the author isn’t going to write more than one additional book. Last book published in a series doesn’t count if more books are expected to be published.
    4) You can list your series enders ahead of time or do a singular wrap up post. If you decide to list them up front, feel free to change them throughout the year as necessary.
    5) When you sign up in the linky, please use the direct link to your post about joining the 2015 Series Enders Reading Challenge. If you don’t have a blog, please post about it on Facebook or Twitter and include that direct link as your sign up.
    6) You can sign up until December 15, 2015. This allows you to join the challenge at any time during the year.
    7) On the 25th of every month, we will post a wrap up on both Somewhere Only We Know and Words Fueled by Love with a giveaway and a place for you to link up your reviews for the month. The monthly giveaway will be open until the next wrap up post goes up (ex. From January 25th 2015, to February 25th 2015). For each link to a review, you will get a one (1) entry into a drawing for that giveaway. This will be open internationally.
    8) Monthly giveaway prizes will be an e-book of your choice up to $10 (USD).
    9) If you miss a wrap-up post and giveaway, you can link your review the next month. Please do not try to link to one review twice. We will be verifying these.
    10) December will be the wrap up for the entire year. All reviews linked from January through December will be entered into a Grand Prize giveaway.
    11) You don’t have to follow Somewhere Only We Know or Words Fueled by Love to participate in the challenge, but you do have to follow both of us in order to be entered in the giveaways.
Levels: (how many series enders you are planning to read)
Level 1: 1 – 5
Level 2: 5 – 10
Level 3: 10 – 15
Level 4: 15+

If you have any questions, please contact us at: Sandy's Email or Holly's Email.

To join the challenge:
    Go HERE.
This reading challenge is hosted by Somewhere Only We Know & Words Fueled by Love.



Holly's 2015 Goal Level 3 (11-15 books):

1. State of Alliance (Collapse Series #5) by Summer Lane

2. The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Mead

3. Untitled (The 5th Wave #3) by Rick Yancey

4. Mortal Heart (His Fair Assassin #3) by Robin LaFevers

5. Hush (Black Lotus #3) by E.K. Blair

6. Until the End (Sea Breeze #9) by Abbi Glines

7. Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

8. Elude (Eagle Elite #6) by Rachel Van Dyken

9. Dawn of Ash (Imdalind #6) by Rebecca Ethington

10. Five Ways to Fall (Ten Tiny Breaths #4) by K.A. Tucker

11. Take Me On (Pushing the Limits #4) by Katie McGarry

As I noticed with my goals for 2014, my list was constantly changing for various reasons. This is the list I will begin with for 2015.
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